Revealing stats about Federal Way demographics | What are the city's needs?

The city is establishing goals and priorities for grant money that helps support low- to moderate-income households as well as economic revitalization.

The Federal Way City Council recently approved the 2012-16 Consolidated Plan for use of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding.

The consolidated plan is a document of roughly 90 pages. It contains an extensive amount of data regarding the city, most collected from the 2010 census and other studies.

Among the revealing statistics from the plan:

• Almost two-thirds of households in Federal Way moved into their house in the past 10 years

• 48 percent of Federal Way's population is Hispanic or a non-white race, compared to 35 percent in King County and 27 percent in Washington State

• Median household income in Federal Way is $56,980, 15 percent lower than the King County average

• Median family income is $67,120, which is 22 percent lower than the King County average

• 29 percent of households in Federal Way had incomes less than $35,000 annually

• 75 percent of Federal Way workers commute out of the city for their job

• 370 clients were served by CDBG public services in 2011

• 35 percent of households moved into their housing unit in 2005 or later

• 30 percent of Federal Way's population age five and older spoke a language other than English in the home

• 66 percent of Federal Way households are "family" households, compared to 58 percent in King County

• 63 percent of households were husband-wife households, while 37 percent percent were single-parent households

• 11 percent of Federal Way residents age 25 or older do not have a high school diploma

• 11 percent of Federal Way households received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits in the last year, two percent higher than Washington's average, and five percent higher than King County's average

• 24 percent of the population in Federal Way received Basic Food benefits in the year ending June 2010

What it all means

Bryant Enge, administrative services director for the city, said the consolidated plan broke the city's needs down into five categories: population and households, economy and income, housing, homelessness and special needs, and community economic revitalization.

Enge reviewed the information and what it means for the city in attempting to provide funds and support services for Federal Way residents.

"In order to receive the annual CDBG grant, the city has to put together the consolidated plan," Enge said during the city council's Nov. 15 meeting. "The plan identified goals for these funds, and these goals are what is evaluated by HUD. The consolidated plan is a five-year strategic plan, and is built through consultation and citizen participation processes."

Based on the findings of the analysis, the focus in terms of where the city should be investing its time and money was on expanded opportunities for low to moderate income households, Enge said. That includes improving facilities and services.

Federal Way created specific goals to address those priorities, among them:

• to create opportunities for a diverse employee base to live and work in Federal Way;

• enhance the opportunity for low and moderate income persons to become more self-sufficient;

• stimulate job and economic development;

• provide safety net services.

"The strategies associated with that…enhance the strength of downtown's economic foundation, retain local business and attract new business, encourage the creation and growth of business, and increase opportunity for employment and jobs providing livable wages," Enge said, referencing three overall national goals the CDBG program aims to hit. "In terms of decent housing, assist owners to maintain and retain their homes, support affordable rental housing, and support adequate housing for homeless and special need populations."

Enge continued.

"Under the suitable living environment, the strategies there were support services to housing to help people on the path towards self-sufficiency, provide a safety net of services, improve accessibility of new and existing facilities, and construct public improvements to support to construct community revitalization strategies."

The consolidated plan is a broad, overall plan for the city to follow when determining how to expend its annual allocation of approximately $650,000 in CDBG funds. Outside of the long-term plan, the city is also required to create an Annual Action plan each year for CDBG funds, and is used to narrow down the projects the city pursues each year.

The council approved the 2012-16 CDBG consolidated plan with a unanimous vote, setting the city's focus on the issues listed above for the next five years.


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